We’re becoming a generation enslaved to technology: Not in the way science fiction writers tend to imagine – we haven’t become Matrix style battery farms for mechanical overlords, neither do we find ourselves in a bloody conflict with Terminator styled automatons; even so, we are quite definitely the underdogs in today’s technologically grounded world, and it’s the machines that are very much in command.
It’s all happened quite insidiously too – we’ve hardly noticed, and now we’re enslaved.
I’ve spent the last couple of days with three colleagues who would find it impossible to function without a mobile phone constantly to hand, or more accurately, two phones. It didn’t matter what we were doing, or where we were – 6 phones out on the table, and conversations punctuated with beeps and the sound of tapping nails. This was the case constantly, at breakfast, whilst working, during downtime and late at night in the bar. Control freaks – but not in the usual sense of the term – they were the ones being controlled.
Then there was the guy on the train this morning who threatened a fellow passenger with physical violence, simply for being asked not to use his phone in the ‘quiet’ carriage. Shocking.
And that’s just mobile phones… There are those who slavishly follow satnavs along impossible routes, others who’ll happily go into debt simply to own the latest plasticky and naff offering from Apple, whilst some will lay bare every moment of their life by way of a non stop running commentary on social media.
This is what it means to be human in the developed world of the 21st century, apparently. To be at the beck and call of faceless and cold technological overlords that rule every aspect and control every moment of our lives, whilst we mutely accept their coercive and unceasing demands.
Thank goodness SL is different. That might seem an odd thing to say, considering what SL is and how it is more than capable of intruding into our real world, everyday lives, surely it’s no different to any of those other threats to our humanity I’ve already mentioned?
I don’t think that’s entirely the case, although I can’t disagree that SL is as capable of taking over our lives as any other mobile device, or technological toy. Where the virtual world does differ is that once we’re logged in, there are very few of those external influences to exert their power over us. That’s not to say that the inveterate phone addict will not still be afflicted with that particulate nemesis demanding their attention, however my experience is that once we’re inworld, we see such things for the real annoyances they are – aggravating intrusions into our personal time that can, and should be, ignored, switched off and generally be given short shrift.
Second Life, for the most part is mercifully free from such encumbrances, and provided we are capable of putting the outside world on hold, there is very little that intrudes inworld to stop us from enjoying quality time doing the things we really want to enjoy doing. Skype, for example, hasn’t managed to find its way inworld and social media has barely made any real inroads into our pixellated lives. For many of us, the moment we step inworld, the real world steps into the background – we know it’s still there, but it becomes incredibly easy for us to ignore it, and the numerous unwanted diversions it seeks to inflict on us, sometimes to an extreme degree. I know one resident, who shall remain nameless, who cheerfully ignored the fact his kitchen was ablaze in rl, simply because attending to it would have compromised his ability to enjoy what was happening at that particular moment inworld!
Allowing ourselves to be immersed in, and absorbed by the very technology that seeks to take over our lives may seem a strange solution to the problem of the machines invading our personal space, but sometimes the safest and most secure place to be is behind enemy lines.
And that’s where you’ll find me, come the revolution… until then, don’t even think of phoning me when I’m inworld, because you won’t get a reply!
Hang up and run to me
Whoah, hang up and run to me
Blondie – Hanging On The Telephone